Posts Tagged ‘Rock N Roll’

GROWN UP AVENGER STUFF – ‘PINS’

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Remember Grown Up Avenger Stuff? The group that was all pop and blast and actual (gasp) FUN? Maybe this’ll help jog your memory.

They’ve released a new song/vid, Pins, a ballad as emotive as it is psychedelic. The tide is a slowcrash, slowrise, abundant w/ surprisingly heavy fog- musical and visual. Though this change of tone was unanticipated, I like having my toes shattered by something new.

The vid was made in a movie theatre in the middle of the night. The smoke set off fire alarms and cops ended up crashing the party.

Rock n roll.

LOVESUCKER

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Duos are a delightful epidemic. Every time I turn around there’s another pair of besties or siblings or college pals creating awesome originality, no full band set required.

LOVESUCKER is the project of Crystal Crosby (vocals, percussion) and Zoltan Von Bury (guitar, bass, drums, etc). Zoltan melds his 1970’s rock influence with an “indie sensibility”, while Crystal dubs her rivetting style “Gypsy Soul”, crediting Etta James, Grace Slick and Tori Amos for vocal inspiration.

Zoltan speaks of their sound: “The descriptions “Indie Funk and Gypsy Soul” actually have a true meaning or power source, if you will. This is who we are and what we do. …There are no examples for those terms because there is no one out there doing this sound; this is OUR sound.”

Their debut landed in the fall, and I just dipped my ear in. Sayonara Messiahnyde boasts some immense soul. Mississippi has been described as “intensely funky”, and I must agree. (Very rarely do you find such funk in a song denouncing slavery.)

Altogether it’s a scattered, dark, deep release, and yes, undeniably unique.

THE SLANG

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Depth is rarely found in guitars. That sounds like a shitty thing to say (or even type), but sometimes we have to wade through our cynicism ’til we swim to a better place.

The Slang is a band (big surprise), alternative rock (’cause I never cover that!), and I like them (’cause I always write about bands I hate!). (Does this sarcasm make me look fat?) I’ve only heard their single, Feels Like Work, but one good song is enough reason to write.

It’s ear-rubby, throat-drenchy, tear-grippy. Emo, honest, elastic. The keys (are those keys?) are great. I have no idea how this single reflects the quality of their upcoming EP (Sept. 2), but I was in a bad mood, and when I listened to this song, it made me feel better.

Sometimes that’s all that matters.

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM ROLLS & TUMBLES

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

If you’re a blog junkie or an avid fan of actual music, you will find three words popping up in your search history: The Gaslight Anthem. Yeah, I have reviewed them in the past — a few times to say the least — so you can naturally call me bias. However, I’m not here to plead a case or defend a band that I’m passionate about; I’m simply here to talk with the minds that are interested in their craft.

A few weeks back, New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem released their first single off of their soon-to-be-released LP Get Hurt. The track, entitled Rollin’ And Tumblin’, is ironically the exact movements I made when I heard rumors that their new album was done (you’d be surprised what a girl can do after a few glasses of Pinot). They decided to work with Mike Crossey this time around, which is really exciting news for people who analyze producers. If you’re a fan of the Arctic Monkeys you will recognize his art, or even artists that may be somewhat newer in the game to you, like Jake Bugg.

There are few words that I will never say about this band, that their sound is in typical Gaslight fashion. Any article that I read reviewing this single will immediately be passed on if that phrase comes about. No hating here, just stating the facts. This band continues to reinvent themselves as their career progresses, which is how it should be done. However, don’t get it twisted, I don’t think that is what they are setting out to do. It just happens. People grow, things change, and any fan of real music would appreciate that with the utmost respect. In a fan’s world, you’ll naturally see people boasting that they’ve changed or that their sound is different now. Honestly, yes, the only thing that is constant is change, which is portrayed in a band that cares about their work. I think this track leaves a lot to the imagination, which I hope is the theme to the whole record, however, the sound isn’t way out there — there’s still some familiarity for Gaslight diehards.

Rolling Stone recently debuted the title track Get Hurt. This song takes Gaslight fans in a new direction. It left me not wanting to think, but to listen, and that’s when I know a song is true. Let’s be honest, a fan is never going to actually be in tune with what a band is thinking entirely when they’re crafting a record, but there’s one thing for certain: This band is in tune with who they are, and what kind of sound they want to make.

I think Get Hurt is a great lead-off single, for its radio friendly while compiling a ragged howler that any fan of true rock and roll can appreciate.

There is a sincerity and passion in this group of guys that I have not only gotten to experience on an interview level, but through my speakers as well. This time around I hear more nuance, more layers, and of course, some damn well polished tunes.

These two tracks are the perfect appetizers to lead fans on without disappointing anyone or completely blowing minds.

Let’s bask in the ambience of their glory, shall we?

THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Want some hard, ripping rock to channel through the cosmos? Adjust your antennae to The Age of the Universe. They’ve got enough psych, prog and alt rock to last you all the way home.

This isn’t my usual flavour for a fix, but you’ve gotta give credit where its due. Singularity is a haunting debut, and I’m sure it’ll stick on the right ears.

But why waste time when their press release says it all for me?: “Think members of Pink Floyd jamming with someone from Muse and Black Sabbath.”

Spot on.

ODD HOURS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Internet, meet Odd Hours. I’m sure you’ll get along.

Natasha: vocals/keys. Tim: guitar. Clint: bass. Randy: drums. The details are more difficult to put in word-y terms. At first listen you may think “it’s just another rock act”, but the instruments lend a druggy distortion, adding an extra kick to the set.

Mostly it leaves you confused, which I think is what they want. They take creative cues anywhere from NIN to Siouxsie and the Banshees (Natasha does have a similar look…)

I’ll let the video do the talking.

LOVESICK SAINTS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Lovesick Saints feel familiar. My first thought when I saw the name was, “Don’t I know them?”

Well, I do now!

They seem to sit amongst the “new” faces of punk, a radio-ready strain pioneered by acts such as Hot Water Music and The Gaslight Anthem. A softer edge, but a tighter set. Even their latest EP title speaks to popular appeal: Dia De Los Meurtos. (My Etsy feed is saturated in sugar skulls!)

Though they aren’t as raw as my preferred acts, they have just enough spice to make you sweat. They’re dry skin on the outskirts of Vegas, ice flushed through the eye. When I listen to them I see half-dead desert highways, signs bleeding neon on the stars.

All in all they stick to the expected, enough that you feel at home in the sound. With long-ish instrumental spaces, it’s easy to find lulls between the vocal-doubled, emotive choruses. Before you know it, you’ll be tapping your toe in your sleep.

Check out War Story, a surprisingly poignant tribute to lost soldiers.

MANGOSEED

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I just got back from the UK, and I’m already missing it. I was missing it soon as the plane landed. Okay, before that.

It’ll be a while before I can afford another plane ticket. So what better way to “get back” than through my speakers?

When someone resonates with a particular culture, nation or location, their music feeds off the spirit in their blood. Then you can listen, and tap in to where you wanna be.

But enough yammering! Let’s steer the spotlight where it belongs: on Mangoseed, a Brixton-based band thriving in reggae, ska, and funky rock n’ roll. (I hardly saw any of Brixton when I was in London, but the lil’ bit I saw was wonderful. Sad and rough, but gorgeous.)

On paper, Mangoseed are a traditional four-piece suite: vocals, guitar, bass, drums. But they take so much from so many influences, stirring that into their own magical brew. Their lyrics are saturated with all the pain and brilliance of history. An area like Brixton is rife with human struggle and human triumph, dangers, dreams, delicacies. The uniqueness of Southern London combines with their Jamaican, Australian, Irish and Trinidadian roots. The reggae melts the rock; together they fizz with electricity. It’s an intelligent, bracing, spiritual current, and it hits hard!

I can’t believe Basquiat is their debut. How long were they stacking this talent?! Lioness is a shocking opener, Careful smooths the curves but “keeps it movin”, and on. And on. And on.

I love music that teaches me something about my limbs. Mangoseed makes me move in ways I wouldn’t expect. I’ll catch a glance of myself in the mirror and think, “WHAT are my legs DOING?” This album makes me twitch and flail like a giddy freak.

What more could I ask for?

DRUNKSOULS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Reggae is mesmerizing. It emanates such druggy soul, such palpable wisdom. One has to dance or do nothing at all. One has to bob, weave, or sit cross-legged, overcome by the rolling, primal rhythms.

Meld that power with digestible pop rock and fist-pumping funk, and you’ve got Drunksouls (not to mention a wicked party playlist).

Drunksouls have been toiling in France’s music scene since 2002, and all their sowing has begun to seed. The music video for Human Race (below!) has hit over two million views. Turns out setting French accents to reggae is like sneaking spinach into your fruit smoothie: undeniably nutritious, unexpectedly delicious. And they do the same with socially-conscious lyrics and rockin’ hooks, not to mention revolutionary punk spirit. This music is a glimpse of enlightened summertime, a leisure that inspires, surges, and motivates. Whether you need to mellow out some harsher vibes or rev up for a workout (or rally), reach out to Drunksouls for your fix. The best place to start would be Just Before Chaos, a compilation cd of their most energetic, entrancing works.

Bolstered by burgeoning interest across the Atlantic, they’re looking to book an American tour.

Wanna come?

FIRE AND THE ROMANCE

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Fire and the Romance are so potent, you only need to put one earphone in.

Blending indie rumble with alternative pop, this freshly-birthed group is set to become. I was excited when I heard their music, which rarely happens. They shyly flirt with the space between experimentation and real risk.

The more I listen to indie rock the more I’m reminded sound is always evolving- often under your radar. Seems it’s only a matter of tuning in to the right place at the right time.

If that’s true, Fire and the Romance boast the utmost timeliness.

IDA MARIA SAUCINESS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Point blank — Ida Maria should be on your radar.

The Norwegian punkster, who just revealed her brand new EP, Accidental Happiness [LAVA/Republic Records], is one catchy-ass songwriter. (Yes, I said it! Catchy-ass.)

The EP showcases her awesome songwriting, from the swaggering swing of Boogie With The Devil’s Soul, to the prickly, punk-y pop declaration I’m Bad News. Simultaneously, the title track exudes entrancing emotion wrapped up in another unshakable refrain. In late 2012, the artist overcame an overwhelming alcohol addiction, and the music reflects her journey with its striking clarity and realization of true creative fulfillment. Ida Maria has officially returned.

She has released two successful full-length efforts (Fortress Round My Heart and Katla), which spawned global hits like I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked and Bad Karma. Her music had been placed everywhere from Royal Pains to Gossip Girl.

Listen to the saucy, just-released bonus track (Sick Of You) below.

PHANTOGRAM CREEPS INTO YOUR PSYCHE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

They describe their sound as “street beat, psych pop”, and upon first listen, it’s easy to understand why. Phantogram is electronic rock that haunts and creeps into your psyche. Comprised of singer Sarah Barthel + producer Josh Carter, this is one duo worthy of space in your ears.

Their new album Voices is super fresh and comes SPIN-approved, who placed the disc on their 50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014 list.

Personally, I’m obsessed. Specifically with single Nothing But Trouble. It’s such a dramatic song – I love it!

Dark/raw/synth-pop at its finest.

Listen to the sexy track below!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRAVESOUL

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: Let’s dive right in. So you’re getting your music out there partially from the buzz created by winning the Whole Foods Team Member Music Project. Did you ever think this type of contest would be what would catapult you to a larger audience?

BRAVESOUL (Max): I had no idea. I moved to Northern Virginia a year ago knowing I was only going to be there for a year. It was really hard for me because it was the furthest thing away from the band and playing music. In reality, it was the thing that jump started us and actually helped us. I think that’s pretty surreal.

RB: I admire artists who have worked hard to get to higher grounds. What’s the struggle behind Bravesoul?

BS: Well, as for recent struggles, we stayed together as a band the past year with Max being 3,000 miles away. Having a baby at 23 was a pretty challenging thing, but the band hung in there for him and kept it together until he could make it back. That said, we did tell ourselves no more long distance relationships after that. But as for our lives, Marty and Max came from low-income homes, growing up together in the valley. Max ended up playing music and touring with various artists and bands. Marty ended up going to Yale and getting the whole thing paid for by the school and government. That’s where he met Eric and they bonded over their similar upbringings (Eric grew up in LA proper) and obsession with music, which were both a bit rare in the ivy league environment. Everyone ended up back in LA, happily ever after…

RB: I’m really lovin’ your sound – it’s fits in the vein of Kings of Leon, but with a flavor all its own. What artists or bands would you say have rubbed off/influenced the sound of the band?

BS: The Walkmen, Radiohead, Muse, REM, Joy Division, to name a few.

RB: What’s the story behind the band’s name?

BS (Marty): It’s from a song I wrote in 2009 called Bravesouls which was about the Iranian student uprisings that happened right around that time. It’s specifically about a girl named Neda that was murdered on the streets of Tehran and became a martyr for the movement. My parents grew up there and so the whole thing was pretty emotional for me to watch, and the song was my way to pay honor to the courage of these kids putting their lives on the line against a tyrannical government. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how good you’ve got it until you see people fighting for something so basic as freedom. Those students are heroes to me, so the name represents that ideal and what we should all strive to become.

RB: The video treatment for If The Morning Ever Comes is fantastic. Image and style direction is crucial in this business and I think you guys are doing it right. Who directed the video? Location? What’s the breakdown for how the video came to be?

BS: Evan Weinerman. He’s great. He directed Time to Run for Lord Huron, another L.A based band we like a lot. We shot it way out in Ridgecrest, California at a demolition derby track. It was about 18 degrees outside while we were shooting it. We had complete creative control over the video, so we were shooting ideas back and forth with Evan and he had some great ideas.

RB: You’re prepping the release of your debut album in February, correct? Nervous? Excited?

BS: We are ready. I think that’s the best way of putting it. We’ve been crafting this album for over a year now and it’s been way too long to not release anything. We’re ready to put it out there.

RB: Tell us something random about the band. Give us something good.

BS: Max has three nipples.

RB: For those just now discovering your music, what’s something we should know?

BS: We worked really hard to make it possible for you to hear these songs, and every single song is something special for us. We’re not interested in just making singles, so we hope everyone will take the time to hear the entire EP. Every penny we earned went into it and the whole thing was funded by ourselves and the generous donations of our Indiegogo supporters, so it’s a project of blood, sweat, and tears.

RB: What was the last album you purchased on iTunes?

BS: That new one by Pretty Lights.

RB: Finally, are you touring with this release? Shoot us some dates. Also, much continued success going forward!

BS: No formal tour announcement yet, but we’re playing February 18th @ Hemingway’s Lounge in Hollywood, February 22nd @ Empire Control Room in Austin, and March 12th @ VH1 Showcase during SXSW. We’re confirming some more LA dates, so keep on the lookout for more show announcements.

CLINTON SPARKS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Burgeoning newcomer Clinton Sparks has just released a brand new track and music video for Stay With You Tonight featuring Riff Raff. The music video for the track also features rapper Lil Debbie and actor Jay Giannone from the highly anticipated film, American Hustle. The video, which is shot in a more serious/short film vein, recently premiered on Billboard Magazine.

Sparks, who is a Grammy-nominated producer & songwriter (Lady Gaga, Rick Ross), is known mostly for his work behind the scenes, but is now prepping the release of his solo album.

Stay With You Tonight is available now on iTunes via Photo Finish Records.

Check out the video treatment below.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ADAM BIRD OF THOSE MOCKINGBIRDS

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MARIA CIEZAK: How did you all meet?

ADAM BIRD: Tory and I met on a street corner in NYC, near the World Trade Center. She was holding her violin, getting ready to go into a show that she was attending with a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked for a few minutes and it turned out Tory would be moving from Rhode Island to NJ soon thereafter, so they exchanged info and stayed in touch. Everyone else somewhat knew each other in some shape or form, and once Tory and I had started the band up, a call was placed to Rob, who brought Kevin in with him, and then Jon came in last as the final piece.

MC: What’s the story behind the band name?

AB: The band name is a twist on a song title by an Australian band called Silverchair. Most people in the US who remember them at all, think of them as 16-year-old grunge kids, but they went on to become an extremely creative group. On their final album, they had a song called Those Thieving Birds, and I had been kicking around the idea of using the word “Mockingbird” in the new band’s name. Slam the two together, and you get Those Mockingbirds.

MC: Which do you prefer? Studio or touring?

AB: While studio is absolutely a great experience, it’s also a lot more stressful, because it’s almost like waiting for a child to be born. You’re doing everything you can to make sure it’s perfect and there are no hiccups, and that it comes out exactly as you had hoped, that most of the pleasure comes in at the end, once you’ve heard back what you’ve done. Touring, however, has that incredible thing where you connect with people every day and travel to cities that you don’t live in and feel a sense of wanting to conquer. It’s really exhilarating the entire time. I would have to say I prefer touring.

MC: If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing?

AB: I’d be a pop star.

MC: New music, tell us about it…

AB: Our new record is called Penny The Dreadful. We moved to Portsmouth NH to record it and we are extremely proud of it. Lyrically, the overall theme is thwarting and/or managing evils in one’s life. Penny, is a character in a few of the songs, and so is the Devil. I use both characters to illustrate different evils of life, and perceptions on what is evil, because sometimes, the thing that looks evil from one person’s point of view, may not actually be, from someone else’s. It’s pretty much an exercise in Buddhist philosophy now that I think about it. Or maybe just me exorcising demons of mine. [Laughs]

MC: And of course, the video for How To Rob A Bank — where’d the concept come from?

AB: The new music video for How To Rob A Bank came to be after we had a few meetings with the director, John Komar, about having a good story in the video. We had two different leading ideas, one involving the bank heist, and the other involving kids playing the lead roles. We pretty much combined the two to make it what it became. Tory gets credit for most of the initial concept, but we all fleshed it out once we were confident with the idea. And funny story… We actually had to shoot the video twice. When we wrapped, John, the director, was transferring the files to a secure hard drive, and I kid you not, lightning struck his house and the files all got mushed together. We tried for a week to go into the code and pick them apart, but it was futile and we had to do it again from scratch. That was a very upsetting week. [Laughs]

MC: Where can people find you?

AB: The new video is airing on mtvU right now, but can also be found HERE. The rest of our web presence can be found on our website.